Archives for February 2010

Oh, That Life Could Always Be This Easy

The little man and I were almost home yesterday afternoon when he piped up from the backseat.

“Mama? I have a little bit of bad news to tell you.”

“Okay, buddy – what is it?”

“Well, Mama, I think you’re probably going to be a little disappointed, but today? At school? Somebody said a bad word, Mama. A CUSS WORD. They did, Mama! I didn’t see who it was, but I heard it.”

Two things immediately ran through my mind: 1) OHMYWORD is the bad language stuff starting already? and 2) When in the sam hill did Alex learn the phrase “cuss word”?

I didn’t want to push the conversation – mainly because I know he’ll talk a whole lot more about something if I don’t pepper him with questions – and sure enough, after a few seconds, he said, “And Mama? I don’t want to say the word to you because I know I’ll get in trouble, but do you know what letter it started with? Do you know, Mama? IT STARTED WITH AN S.”

“Oh really?”

“YES MA’AM – SOMEBODY SAID THE S WORD.”

We drove along for a few more seconds, and I tried to make sense of the whole thing. I certainly don’t put anything past a bunch of young’uns, but I also know that bad language is far from the norm at A.’s sweet little school. And the more I thought about it, the more I decided that there had to be more to the story.

“Hey buddy? Do you remember what the bad word was?”

“Yes ma’am. But I’m not gonna say it, Mama. I don’t want to get in trouble.”

“Well, can you tell me a word that rhymes with it?

“I think I can do that, Mama.”

About that time we pulled into our driveaway, and as I put the car in park I turned around to look at the six year-old in the backseat. I could tell he was thinking so hard, and once he settled on an answer, his eyes met mine.

“Mama? The bad word? It rhymes with…ROOPID.”

“Roopid?”

“Yes ma’am – BUT I’M STILL NOT SAYING THAT S WORD THAT RHYMES WITH ROOPID.”

I’m pretty sure that my grin covered up my ears and wrapped around the back of my head.

“I’M NOT SAYING IT.”

“Well, that is totally understandable, buddy. That’s a good decision.”

“Thanks, Mama.”

And then he ran inside.

My Official Prediction Based On Absolutely No Expertise Whatsoever

All righty. I just finished watching the American Idol Top 24 selection show, and I have SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT SOME THINGS.

1. I was so glad they moved the final panel with the judges to the stage. Because remember how everybody used to have to travel upstairs via a very cramped elevator? That made me nervous.

(Other things that make me nervous: phone calls with someone whose TV is playing very loudly in the background, the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving, people who won’t quit talking during a movie and the mere thought of not being on time. Clearly I’m COMPLETELY NORMAL.)

2. Loved the long tunic with the ruffled sleeves that Kara was wearing during the final panel. Sassy.

3. So far this season has been WAY better than last season. There seem to be a lot more musicians, and I love that. Because I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I very much enjoy a singer/songwriter who can simultaneously sing and just bang it out on the acoustic guitar/piano/harpsicord/whathaveyou.

4. Also so far: no Paula-stalgia from me. She was always very encouraging to the kids, but it seems like the guest judges and Ellen have filled that void pretty nicely (with the exception of Avril Lavigne, who seemed to favor a slight scowl). It’s been nice not to listen to Paula and Simon bicker. That part of the show was never enjoyable to me.

5. I like so many of the contestants this year – Mike Lynche, Lilly Scott, Andrew Garcia, Crystal Bowersox, etc. But if I were to take a stab at who will be the fan favorite for 2010? Here’s my winner (I have no idea what that website of the bottom of the video is, so surf to that corner of the web at your own risk):

Sing it, Casey James.

Of course, you should probably take my prediction with a grain of salt seeing as how last year I’d never even noticed Kris Allen before the Top 24. So I obviously have deep wells of untapped giftedness in the field of talent scouting.

Who do y’all like so far?

Mama’s Had It

By lunchtime yesterday I was a wee bit stir crazy, so I asked Alex if he wanted to run a few errands with me. Since he, like his mama, has never met an excursion he didn’t like, he was all about some errand-running, and he had one VERY SPECIFIC destination to add to my list: the bookstore. We usually spend at least one afternoon a week hanging out in the kids’ section, and there wasn’t anything standing in our way yesterday. So the bookstore it was.

After a couple of quick stops, we pulled into the bookstore parking lot. I noticed a sign advertising their Alabama National Championship sportswear, and I may or may not have rolled my eyes IN THE MOST RESPECTFUL WAY POSSIBLE (I’m proud for the Crimson Tide and all, but I could use a little teensy break from the NEVER-ENDING SUPPLY of sports memorabilia, thankyouverymuch). We hopped out of the car, walked across the parking lot, and as I opened the door to the bookstore and let Alex go in ahead of me, my eyes landed on a display that was set up about two feet in front of the entrance.

The display was a two-tiered cardboard deal and probably about three and a half feet high – much closer to Alex’s eye-level than mine. And on the display? About thirty copies of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. You know. The one where the model isn’t wearing a swimsuit top and is (barely) covering her chest with her arms.

Now listen. I’m not going to rant and rave about Sports Illustrated and the swimsuit issue and the model who isn’t wearing all of her clothes. There’s a market for that. I get it. They wouldn’t publish the magazine and turn it into such a big media hoopty-do if they weren’t making a whole bunch of money in the process. And honestly, there was a time in my life (see: 20s) when I would’ve told you that magazines like the swimsuit edition weren’t a big deal. And then I would’ve hopped on my (admittedly shaky) soapbox and said something to the effect that anyone who was offended by that magazine (or any magazine with scantily-clothed people) just didn’t need to look at it – because, well, if someone has the freedom to say or publish something I don’t like, then I in turn can exercise my freedom to opt out of listening or reading.

(Oh, my precious live-and-let-live 20s.)

(I DO NOT MISS THEM AT ALL.)

But the kicker in the don’t-look-at-it-if-you’re-offended-by-it line of thinking is that it only works if you have the ability to reason from a somewhat mature point of view. To analyze. To look at a situation from all sides and figure out where you stand on it. And CHILDREN CAN’T DO THAT YET – which is pretty much why this whole bookstore display thingie left me feeling so frustrated.

Here’s the thing. The bookstore has a huge children’s section. It has a Thomas the Tank Engine train table, for crying out loud. It even has comfy chairs around that Thomas table so that parents can watch their kids while they play. So I’m guessing that, to some degree, the bookstore is trying to position themselves as family-friendly. They want us to feel good about taking our kids there. DID I MENTION THE COMFY CHAIRS?

Even still, I know that this bookstore isn’t a place to let children run wild. I wouldn’t let Alex go to the back of the store and browse through all the magazines because he’s six years old and there’s stuff back there I don’t want him to see (I’m talking to you, Maxim). Obviously his daddy and I try to protect him from certain types of media because THAT’S OUR JOB – a six year-old isn’t emotionally or mentally ready to deal with provocative images. In order to help him guard his little heart we have to help him guard his little eyes. That’s why we monitor what he watches on TV. That’s why we restrict his access to the computer.

And granted, we can’t protect him forever. There’s a whole bunch of stuff out there that, as parents, we’ll have to deal with eventually. There’s a whole bunch of stuff out there that he’ll have to deal with eventually.

But he’s six. And it’s not time for that yet.

The bottom line for me is this: I think that if you’re going to set yourself up as a business that welcomes families, putting magazines with a topless cover girl in children’s clear line of sight – at the one and only entrance to your store – well, it’s out of bounds. And to varying degrees, it’s not just this particular bookstore. It’s grocery stores (however, in the YAY, PUBLIX department, they put little plastic shields on top of anything in the check-out line that you wouldn’t want your kids to see). It’s big discount stores. It’s movie rental places. It’s drugstores.

And I’ve been sick and tired of it for awhile. SICK AND TIRED. Yesterday just happened to be the straw that broke this mama camel’s back.

So what did I do about it? Not enough. My first thought was that I should talk to a manager, but then I had visions of me getting all emotional and rattled and ramble-y, so I found a chair, pulled out my phone and looked up the bookstore on Twitter. And I sent them a message. I heard from them a couple of hours later, and they said they’d gotten my email address from my blog (I guess they clicked through from Twitter) and forwarded my complaint and to their customer service department. I appreciate that they followed up with me, but I’m still calling the store manager today. I’ll probably still be rattled and ramble-y. I don’t care.

If there’s any funny side to this little tale of bookstore woe, it’s this. When I first caught a glimpse of that display, I immediately glanced over at Alex to see his reaction. He was preoccupied with some Alabama National Championship water bottle or tire pump or plastic dinnerware, so I stepped back to the magazines and started flipping them so that the cover wasn’t showing. In retrospect the utter futility of what I was doing cracks me up, but at the time I was all, DON’T YOU EVEN TRY TO CROSS ME, BOOKSTORE EMPLOYEES, BECAUSE I WILL STAND HERE AND FLIP MAGAZINES ALL DAY LONG IF NECESSARY, OH YES I WILL, ARE YOU NOT AWARE THAT HUNDREDS OF SMALL CHILDREN WALK THROUGH THESE DOORS EVERY SINGLE DAY?!

About that time Alex dropped whatever he was looking at because he’d spotted something on the shelves right behind the display. In fact, he nearly tripped over himself trying to get to it. And sweet irony of ironies, do you know what it was?

Beth Moore’s new book. It’s #4 on the bestseller list, and A. was so happy to see her face on that first set of bookshelves that he grabbed a copy and said, “Mama! It’s Miss Beth! It’s Miss Beth! HERE’S HER BOOK! IN OUR BOOKSTORE!” I couldn’t help but laugh. Score one for Miss Beth.

But something tells me that, as parents, we’re going to be fighting battles like this one for a very long time.

I’m Fresh Out Of Titles

So right now it’s about 9:00 Sunday night, and apparently we’re under some sort of winter weather warning and SUPPOSEDLY getting more snow tomorrow.

SUPPOSEDLY.

Oh, I am doubtful and jaded where snow-related forecasts are concerned.

But then again – there was Friday.

And Friday – well, it was glorious.

Y’all will be happy to know that we finally rounded up a real-live sledding apparatus (thanks to our next door neighbors). The belly-flop-on-the-ground method got a little chilly after awhile, so it was nice to be able to sled a little more official-like. We’re just not very well-practiced in all the world’s fayncee sledding methods, you understand.

ANYWAY, I am cautiously optimistic that tomorrow will bring us some more beautiful winter weather. The snow is such a treat for us, not to mention that I totally forgot to make snow cream on Friday and would really, really like to make some snow cream before this winter is over.

(Did I just set a goal?)

(I DID! I JUST SET A GOAL!)

Now. Three quick things. Completely unrelated to the (POTENTIAL) Winter Weather Event. But totally related to television, WHY DO YOU LOOK SO SURPRISED?

1) This afternoon I finally got to watch the season premiere of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and oh my word that was two solid hours of quality TV viewing. I love the premise – it’s so fun to be able to jump right in with contestants we already “know.” In fact, I think that every single episode should be two hours long. And I know that’s a time commitment – especially on TV-heavy Thursday night – but I AM UP FOR THE CHALLENGE, OH YES I AM.

B) “The Amazing Race”? Yes, please.

III) I could watch the Winter Olympics pretty much non-stop for the rest of my life and maybe on into eternity. It’s something about all the pretty snow, the bright colors of the uniforms (this morning I mistakenly called them “costumes” and may have been been teased once or six times as a result), the big ski jumps, the fast mogul races and, well, every single bit of it. I’m having a hard time figuring out who belongs to which country because NBC has created flag graphics for the bottom of the screen that are practically microscopic (and I’m sure my inability to see them has nothing – NOTHING – to do with my eyesight, I’M CERTAIN OF IT), but other than that, I’m delighted that it’s Olympics time again.

That is all. Now I’m going to catch up on the skiing and speed skating and make sure I get a good look at everybody’s cute costumes.

Have a great Monday, everybody!

Since We Didn’t Have A Doggy Sweater…

…we improvised.

It was mighty chilly, after all.

She looks cute in green, don’t you think?

Alabammy Sleddin’

They say that necessity is the mother of invention.

But I think maybe it’s desperation.

Bless their little snow-deprived hearts.